Current Weather

temperature

67℉

clear sky

Former Brentwood doctor helps reduce infant deaths in Haitian town by 66 percent


Former Brentwood doctor helps reduce infant deaths in Haitian town by 66 percent

Two years ago, Dr. David Vanderpool sold his Brentwood home, a successful medical practice, and most of his family’s belongings to help serve one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world: Haiti. Now, as a result of his efforts, a recent study found a 66 percent drop in infant mortality rates at a small town there.

Two years ago, Dr. David Vanderpool sold his Brentwood home, a successful medical practice, and most of his family’s belongings to help serve one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world: Haiti. Now, as a result of his efforts, a recent study found a 66 percent drop in infant mortality rates at a small town there.

Vanderpool and his team, which includes his wife, Laurie, first traveled to Haiti in 2010 after the devastating earthquake that hit the inhabitants of what is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Most of the aid came in the form of mobile medical truck, providing free care in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that killed an estimated 230,000 to 316,000 people, and injured hundreds of thousands others.

Then, in 2013, the 53-year-old doctor decided to give up his practice fixing varicose veins and performing aesthetic treatments like liposuction and Botox to set up a medical facility in a small town called Thomazeau, about an hour outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, with a population around 52,000.

There he founded LiveBeyond, a maternal health program, which offers medical care, clean water, education, orphan care, community development, as well as religious teachings – all on a 63-acre property the organization bought.

Brentwood Home Page was unable to contact Vanderpool in Haiti, but in a recent press release, he explained why caring for the Haitian people was so important at such a critical time.

“After the catastrophic Haiti earthquake in 2010, we knew we were called to help the Haitian people and provide a lasting impact in the country,” Vanderpool said.

“Maternal health was one of the first areas we began working, because the best thing for a child is to have a living parent and the best thing for a mother is to have a healthy child. A successful mother-and-child relationship has many positive long-term economic and social implications.”

In Thomazeau, the average woman has anywhere from six to seven children, which Vanderpool said is partly responsible for exacerbating the poverty cycle through generations.

But that high number also means the child-bearer is at high risk for miscarriages, especially in conditions that are less than favorable. Across the island, Haiti consistently ranks within the bottom 25 nations in the world for the highest maternal and infant mortality rate.

“Since more than 98 percent of mothers in Haiti deliver their babies at home and 42 percent do so without medical assistance, many mothers and their children face high-risk delivery and often give birth on dirt floors, cutting umbilical cords with rocks,” Vanderpool said.

According to LiveBeyond officials, the program – in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health and Texas A&M University – has reduced the infant mortality rate in Thomazeau by 66 percent, compared to the national average.

By just weekly monitoring pregnant mothers and providing access to food, education and medical care, Vanderpool and his staff have changed the culture of fear surrounding childbearing in the small Haitian town.

“These medical solutions to the problem of maternal and infant mortality are not complicated or expensive medical procedures; however, they are necessary,” Vanderpool said.

“Nearly all of these maternal and infant deaths can be prevented, and most women are desperate for an intervention. Losing a mother in an impoverished country is particularly difficult, because often she foists six children on a community already living on the knife-edge of survival.”

To learn more about LiveBeyond, visit http://www.livebeyond.org.

Jonathan Romeo covers Brentwood for Home Page Media Group. Contact him at jonathan@brentwoodhomepage.com.

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply